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The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Vol. 10, No. 2

  • (3)

    Altruism as a tactic of the weak to get support from the strong;

  • (4)

    Altruism as a strategy of the weak to get power over the strong in

order to rule them; and

(5) Altruism as a strategy by the weak to destroy the strong out of envy, hatred, or revenge.

Nietzsche and Rand both recognize Type 1 altruism. History provides many examples of monastic and religious communities that isolate themselves and live communally. The key organizing concepts of such communities are collective assets, solidarity, and conformity. Both Nietzsche and Rand also recognize Type 2 altruism. Nietzsche regularly invokes herd-animal metaphors and examples to illustrate the instinctual or strategic practice of seeking safety in numbers against a qualitatively superior enemy. “All the sick and sickly instinctively strive after a herd organization as a means of shaking off their dull displeasure and feeling of weakness; the ascetic priest divines this and furthers it” (GM, 3:18). Rand illustrates Type 2 in The Fountainhead in the official philosophy Ellsworth Toohey uses when preaching to the masses—for example in his speech to the strikers of the building-trades union (F, I:9). The key concepts in Toohey’s speech are unity, the aggression of the owners, and the consequent role of unions as a self-protection agency to fight back.

Type 3 altruism appears in Nietzsche’s writings as a danger to the strong: The weak and the poor use altruistic morality as a tool to make the stronger serve them; that is a danger to the strong, Nietz- sche argues, because it will sidetrack them from their proper self- development. “The sick represent the greatest danger for the healthy; it is not the strongest but the weakest who spell disaster for the strong.” Nietzsche’s reason for this is that “What is to be feared, what has a more calamitous effect than any other calamity, is that man should inspire not profound fear but profound nausea; also not great fear but great pity” (GM, III:14). Pity then leads the strong to feel obligations of charity, compassion, and to devote themselves to succor.

A parallel version of Type 3 altruism appears in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, in the case of the strategy that Rearden’s mother and brother pursue to ensure that he will continue to support them. They speak the language of obligation, pity, and compassion, and, despite his inarticulate reservations and inchoate feelings of ickiness, Rearden

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